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Friday, April 22, 2016

Year 5: It Never Rains in California

by Calculated Risk on 4/22/2016 08:42:00 PM

Update: The Dumb Money recommends reading The California Weather Blog: California drought update; April showers in NorCal; and La Niña Looms. Much more detail and analysis (not a bad year in NorCal) ...

El Niño was a bust this winter in California. Although the state received more precipitation than the previous four years - that isn't saying much.

Here are a few resources to track the drought. These tables show the snowpack in the North, Central and South Sierra. Currently the snowpack is about 56% of normal for this date.

And here are some plots comparing the current and previous years to the average, a very dry year ('76-'77) and a wet year ('82-'83). This winter was close to an average year in the North and Central Sierra, but below average in the southern section.

Tyndall CreekFor Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail hikers, I recommend using the Upper Tyndall Creek sensor to track the snow conditions. This is the fifth dry year in a row along the JMT - although more snow than the previous four years. There will probably be adequate water and not too much snow on the passes.

This graph shows the snow water content for Upper Tyndall Creek for the last 20 years. There is more snow than the previous four years, but that isn't saying much. Note: I hiked the trail in September 1998 - a very wet year - and there was snow all year on Whitney.